Metaphysical Explanation: The Kitcher Picture

Sam Baron, James Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


This paper offers a new account of metaphysical explanation. The account is modelled on Kitcher’s unificationist approach to scientific explanation. We begin, in Sect. 2, by briefly introducing the notion of metaphysical explanation and outlining the target of analysis. After that, we introduce a unificationist account of metaphysical explanation (Sect. 3) before arguing that such an account is capable of capturing four core features of metaphysical explanations: (1) irreflexivity, (2) non-monotonicity, (3) asymmetry and (4) relevance. Since the unificationist theory of metaphysical explanation inherits irreflexivity and non-monotonicity directly from the unificationist theory of scientific explanation that underwrites it, we focus on demonstrating how the account can secure asymmetry and relevance (Sect. 4).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-207
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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